Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Craigslist Tips

A couple of people have asked how I find such good deals on craigslist. My secret is…I don’t have a secret. No hard and fast rules, but I’ll try to give you some ideas.

Sometimes I just scan the furniture listings without anything in mind. That’s how I found my $35 china cabinet. I wasn’t looking for a china cabinet, but come on, for $35 would you have turned it down?

Sometimes I do have a particular item I’m looking for. In that case, I don't just search that specific category, I search all for sale. Here are some examples of searches I ran when looking for a white slip-covered couch: slip cover couch, slip cover sofa, slipcover couch, slipcover sofa, couch, sofa.

My friend Dixie claims that I have special internet search powers. wonder womanflickr

I don’t know about that, but you do have to use different keywords and spellings. That’s why I used both ‘couch’ and ‘sofa’, and why I spelled slipcover two different ways. I also did not use the word ‘slip covered’ because the description may have said something like ‘includes slip cover’ rather than ‘couch is slip covered’ . If nothing turned up, then I would just resort to looking through all the listings of couch and sofa in case the seller did not mention the slipcover.

The converse works when you’re listing something on craigslist (or ebay). It would seem sensible to title your listing White Slipcovered Sofa, but then you’re going to miss people who are searching for ‘couch’. So you would title it something like Couch Sofa w/ White Slipcover Slip Cover. Your title is really just made up of search keywords.

My last tip is be patient. Sometimes you'll find exactly what you're looking for right off the bat. Sometimes you won't. Keep checking, every day or even a couple times a day, until you find what you want at a price you want to pay. And don't forget to barter a little bit. My sectional was listed for $350, but Craig got it down to $260.

Adding one more thing: look for misspellings. For ebay there's www.fatfingers.com ; I've used it before. I didn't know if there was something for craigslist, but just did a search and found www.typobuddy.com. Fewer people find misspelled listings, so you might have less competition for an item.

Now, go forth and shop! I hope this helps you find that super deal!

**I clarified a couple things here after getting some great comments--be sure to read the comments as others have some really good tips, too.


ALVN of WhisperWood Cottage and Junkologie said...

Great post!!

Scanning the ads is important, because sometimes an item is included with a lot of other items so it is not listed separately. PLUS...there are a lot of misspellings!! Someone might write "slpcover", which obviously is missing the "i". This would make it not show up in a search.

Another tip if you find something is to ask the seller if they have any other items for sale. For instance, I just contacted a person about a table. I asked if he anything else for sale. I ended up with a whole truck full of great pieces!! I got a great deal and he got rid of items. Everybody's happy!


Jody said...

I agree, this is a great post!

A couple things I've learned in my searches that others may find helpful as well:

-- If you're looking for something potentially popular, search often and act quickly. I've sent emails within minutes of a posting and it's already gone!

-- If you're looking for furniture, don't limit your searches to the furniture category. I've found furniture listed in "general" and "household" as well.

-- Search the "garage sale" category even if you're not interested in going to one. I've found some people list stuff there to try and sell it in advance of their sale.

Thanks for your site, I look forward to checking it out each day!


I agree with your friend Dixie. I think you have special powers. :)

dixie said...

You do have special internet search powers, my friend. You do!!

Meshellyn said...

I don't know how to do it, but you can set up an RSS feed for searches if you are looking for something specific. My husband does it on occasion.

I am definitely a fan of Craigslist. Every room in our home was furnished through this site. Our high end leather sofa and loveseat, our entertainment center, our dining table, our stainless steel GE profile fridge, our playroom sofa and loveseat, our playroom armoire, our guest bedroom furniture... I could go on. It's ridiculous. I must add though, my husband went on many wild goose chases to discover the item did not look near as good as in the picture and you have to ask specifically about the condition, because some people's good condition is definitely poor!

All that said, I LOVE Craigslist!

Holly said...

Thanks for all the additional tips, everybody!
Amy, I don't know if there's something similar for craigslist, but for ebay, you can go to www.fatfingers.com and type in what you're looking for and it will search all possible misspellings.

TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo said...

Great tips, Holly!
I love finding "somebody else's junk" to make my own.
I am off to try out your tips.

Sara @ Be Still and Know said...

Search lots of cities at once for Craigslist at: www.searchtempest dot com (used to be called craigshelper)!! i love it...i can do one search for several surrounding cities at once :)

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Great tips!!! I've never used Craig's List b/c our area doesn't ever much listed, but maybe I'll give it another go. ;)

Jenny said...

Great tips. I've noticed that lots of people on Craigslist can't spell.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the tips. I am in love with your slipcovered sofa, couch, sofa...LOL!

Michelle said...

Thanks for the great tips, Holly. Still haven't really found anything on Craigslist yet but like you said, I think one of the biggest things is to be patient.

Have a great day!